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Thread: 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe build - SQ focus

  1. #1
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    2008 Nissan Altima Coupe build - SQ focus

    Well, I guess I can start up a thread as a bit of a place-holder. I'm beginning to investigate the car pc option for my A/V needs. I currently have an Alpine W205/Blackbird combo along with the H701 processor. It has been having issues lately, so upgrading is on the list of things to do. I guess the idea of having to upgrade every component in the system (due to the way everything is integrated) kinda turned me off, so I began looking at building a carputer. This is my first build (and I'll probably go crazy) so please point out any potential issues or offer advice where possible so that I can make this work.

    Here's what I'm looking for:
    GPS
    Music played from HD
    Video played from HD (some movies, some TV shows - mostly divx codec usage)
    Bluetooth phone integration (iPhone)
    HD Radio
    Backup camera
    Audio processing

    The components (I haven't purchased yet, just the planning stage):
    CPU - Intel E6300
    Motherboard - Intel DG41MJ
    RAM - 4GB Corsair DDR2-800
    OS Drive - Intel X25-V
    Storage Drive - Some 1-1.5 TB drive
    Optical - Thinking about a Blu-ray drive
    Case - G-Atlantic Mini-ITX
    PSU - likely the M4-ATX
    Sound - M-Audio Delta 1010LT
    Radio Tuner - maybe the Visteon HDZ300?
    BT - some USB bluetooth dongle
    GPS - probably the BU-353
    Wireless - another USB adapter?
    Monitor - Not sure yet, depends what fits...

    Software (any suggestions welcome here) - Either XP or windows 7
    either console or audiomulch
    Electric-Q
    RR (or maybe Centrafuse)
    MS Streets and Trips?

    So that is the first plan. Does anyone see anything completely wrong with this setup? Am I missing anything? Will there be some crazy compatibility issues I'm not noticing? Otherwise, I'll try to scrape some money together and get some parts ordered in the near future and update this thread accordingly.

  2. #2
    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    looks like your off to a great start, the biggest issue that i see is your motherboard selection-- it has very limited amount of usb ports-- which could be a issue when you start to add stuff. (i also tend to be against intel motherboards because they all seem to have issues when i use them-- probably a error on my part...) i am liking my zotac 9300, i just haven't gotten it into the car yet...

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    I've already come to the conclusion that I'm going to need a hub. That will probably work best anyway so I can place it in the armrest (Though I'm not sure which USB devices to plug directly into the MB and which into the hub). As far as the selection goes, I'm not dead set on this motherboard, but I am pretty much set on that audio card. I do like zotac, but it doesn't have the PCI capabilities that my card requires.

    And, you're close by to me (I've lived in a number of places around the greater Chicago-land area from the southwest burbs to the far north side of the city and now NWI). I might have to use you as a resource if I hit any major snags (kidding - I like to power through stuff on my own). However, if the install goes well, I'd be more than willing to demo it at that point (I'm hoping to install in the car sometime this summer).

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    Is there a reason you are going for that big of a CPU? Also, is your 1TB drive a 3.5"? If so, you may run into trouble if your ride is bumpy. I'm also asuming HD music means music from your Hard Drive as opposed to High Def (as in something like FLAC encoded audio)? Or maybe both?

    Take lots of pics of the install and the car. I *almost* got myself an Altima Coupe, almost. :P
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    Quote Originally Posted by kev000 View Post
    Is there a reason you are going for that big of a CPU? Also, is your 1TB drive a 3.5"? If so, you may run into trouble if your ride is bumpy. I'm also asuming HD music means music from your Hard Drive as opposed to High Def (as in something like FLAC encoded audio)? Or maybe both?

    Take lots of pics of the install and the car. I *almost* got myself an Altima Coupe, almost. :P
    No reason in particular for the CPU. I've seen a similar install and the CPU is relatively cheap. I think with the size of the case and the mounting location (I'm hoping I can squeeze it in under a seat) I'll be able to keep it cool. I might also undervolt it to keep it cool if it becomes an issue. If I'm running Electri-Q, I believe I'll need one instance running for each driver (so that will be as many as seven) in addition to my front end and everything else. I figured the extra processor overhead will come in handy. Do you see any reason to go with something less? Besides heat, what other problems will I have?

    I don't have the hard drive yet, but it will almost certainly need to be a 3.5" drive (laptop drives are a bit pricey and slower). I'm not too concerned about the bumpiness of the ride. It may fry the drive eventually, but if that happens I'll just swap it out. Should be easy since my OS and programs will be installed on the SSD which should hold up well in this application.

    As far as HD music goes, I believe I was referring to the hard drive. I don't currently have anything FLAC encoded. However, I will also be using an HD radio tuner. Any higher quality audio will likely be run from optical media. I'm not sure if I want to try to toy around with DVD-A or SACD yet, but that is definitely an option worth considering.

    I've already done a fairly outlandish install in this car, so I'm hoping adding the carputer wont be too difficult (the hard part will be done long before I ever place it into the car). Once the pc is completely configured and running, it shouldn't take me more than a day or so to get the audio through the car (I'm running three amps already so the car is wired and ready to go). I just need to run a few new wires under the seats (the trunk is tiny and already completely customized, so there's really no room for a computer back there) and I should be set. I always take pics of my installs, so this will be no different.

    Side note: what car did you end up with when you decided against the Altima? I love my coupe and I'm glad I went this route over my other potential options.

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    I have never seen the need for anything faster than an Atom 330 CPU. The new Atom 470's are even less power hungry and plenty powerful enough to do just about anything in-car related. Power becomes an issue quickly when you have high power amps and a carpc. I've come to realise the less power you draw, the better -unless of course, you've already upgraded your alt or have a second battery.

    I fell in love with the altima coupe when it first came out. I ended up choosing an '08 impala SS over it because price+performance+and seating (I already had 1 kid at that time). The seating wouldn't have been an issue but my 4 door sedan died right before I would have made the purchase. That pushed me to go with a bigger car. I still have a lot of love for the altima and I still may consider one if i ever need a second vehicle (first choice would be a Corvette ZR1/Z06, second may be a GTR, but that all depends on the $$$).

    Anyway, that's another topic. My thread is out there if you want to peek into the insanity that is my install...
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    True, while I might not *need it*, I like the overhead. Like I said, if power becomes and option I can easily undervolt/underclock the cpu to pull back some. While I didn't upgrade the alternator (it is a royal pain to get to in the Altima coupe with a V6), I do have a second battery in the trunk. I'm currently running about 2,500 watts RMS through just my sub and front stage and I don't see any insane voltage drops when I'm listening full-tilt. I don't think the carputer will do much to draw more from the system.

    Having no kids, I don't really care about the back seat. That might be an issue in the future, but I don't see it cropping up during the lifetime of this car. I will definitely be browsing your install. I don't think my carputer will be the craziest out there, but all I'm looking for is the inclusion of all of these basic car audio/video needs with a killer audio processor setup (this is the reason I'm going with a carputer build rather than just upgrading my head unit/etc).

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    Quote Originally Posted by AppleBonker View Post
    And, you're close by to me (I've lived in a number of places around the greater Chicago-land area from the southwest burbs to the far north side of the city and now NWI). I might have to use you as a resource if I hit any major snags (kidding - I like to power through stuff on my own). However, if the install goes well, I'd be more than willing to demo it at that point (I'm hoping to install in the car sometime this summer).
    whats the fun if you can't do it yourself right?

    i am familiar with console, audio mulch, asio4all, and virtual audio cable, i haven't touched any in a couple months though, but i just don't understand electriQ enough to use it(last setup, i was using some karma fx crossovers and eq's), so if you have any questions about the other stuff, let me know(the hardest part is setting up all of the software to work together).

    otherwise, there is the chicagoland mp3car meets-- i never made any of them last year, but hope to this coming summer, once i get everything put back in.

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    Yeah, I have a feeling most people on this site like having the control/power over every part of their system (hence not going with a packaged solution). I know Electri-Q is going to take a while to figure out, but I'm ok with that. It seems powerful software takes a while to get control of. Everything else in the audio processing chain makes sense to me, but the configuration and tweaking will likely take a while (with a whole bunch of reading involved too).

    I've built numerous computers before, so the hardware assembly part should be simple. I think I've got my hardware decisions pretty much all figured out. Now, I'm trying to scrape the cash together to buy so I can begin working on the software side. I figure the software portion of the install will probably take me a few months. Hopefully I'll have it up and running to be able to attend one of the meets this summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soundman98 View Post
    whats the fun if you can't do it yourself right?

    ...

    otherwise, there is the chicagoland mp3car meets-- i never made any of them last year, but hope to this coming summer, once i get everything put back in.
    I agree. I think most members of this site are of the DIY variety (hence the build versus purchase a packaged solution). I've built numerous computers, so I'm not too concerned about the hardware assembly. I fully understand that getting all of the software running will be the challenging part of the build (this is why I am not expecting to install until sometime this summer). I am still fairly comfortable with software (I would even prefer to run some flavor of linux on my carputer - unfortunately the processing software I want isn't available, and I certainly don't have the time or know-how to code my own), but all of the software on the car pc is completely new to me.

    Well, if I have any luck getting this up and running by the summer, I will certainly try to make one or more of the meets. I'm working on scraping together some of the funds now to get this build going. Hopefully I can be ordering some of the hardware in the very near future (get a jump on the software part so I can stay on schedule).

    On that note, I realize I mis-read the specs on my desired motherboard. I though it had 3 SATA 1.5Gb/s ports, but I just realized they are 3.0Gb/s. This means my original SSD plan is probably not the best. The X25-V does not have the read/write performance I can get from other options. Since the X25-V peaks at around 170/35 MB/s (sequential read/write), it doesn't reach the throughput limitations of the board. I think I'll end up grabbing an X25-M (more expensive, but also double the capacity) as the write speed is about double and the read speed nearly saturates the throughput limitation of SATA 3.0Gb/s. I have had good experiences with Intel SSDs in the past (I have some OCZ Vertex drives that aren't quite as exciting), so I think this makes sense.

    Having said that, I'm very much leaning towards running Windows 7. It will allow me to utilize all of my RAM (if I go 64-bit) and 7 will be able to take advantage of TRIM support offered in the latest Intel firmware (keeping my drive faster for longer). The rest of my hardware seems to have driver support for 64-bit 7, so I don't think I'll hit any problems. I'm not all that familiar with 7 (mostly Ubuntu at home - otherwise Vista), so it might take me a bit longer to strip the install to speed boot times.

    As far as software goes, I'm narrowing in on RR and using iGuidance as my nav software. This is starting to come together a bit more in my head. Sorry for the long post - kind of thinking out loud...

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